vegetarian & plant-based products

The Vegetarian Supplement Market Continues to Grow. Today’s supplement consumers are more discerning and informed than ever before. They are young, diverse and global. And they are growing in number. Maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle has grown from 62% in 2007 to 79% in 2015. In the U.S., 44% of supplement users say that vegetarian is important when choosing a supplement, up from 26% in 2006. They want non-animal products with no pesticides or preservatives.

Vegetarian-aware consumers are powerful shoppers:

  • Vegetarian-aware consumers take more supplements than the general population--an average of 3.1 per day versus 2.4
  • 63% report that they prefer to buy supplements that have a specific health claim
  • 54% are brand loyal to the supplements they use and regularly purchase those same brands

The Right Fit

As the world leader in hard capsules for the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries, Lonza has continuously invested in research and development to bring new solutions for the effective delivery of supplements anticipating the requirements of a demanding consumer. The result is a growing portfolio of vegetarian and plant-based capsules. The product range is made with vegetarian ingredients such as pine-derived plant cellulose, or fermented tapioca – 100% safe and traceable. Furthermore, each product is preservative-free, GMO ingredient free, and gluten-free, as well as biodegradable.

How to choose the right vegetarian or plant-based capsule?

Think technical considerations first.

The choice of the right capsule for a supplement depends on a mix of factors. The first step to finding the right solution is to explore the technical considerations of the product. Is the supplement moisture- or heat-sensitive, acid- or oxygen-sensitive? Is the odor of the ingredient an issue? Does the supplement need to dissolve quickly in the stomach, or slowly in the digestive tract?

The following table breaks down which capsules are best fitted for which needs.

Vcaps® Plus




The premier vegetarian capsule- performs like gelatin with better branding

The 1st generation vegetarian capsule for health conscious consumers

The vegetarian capsule designed to release when you need it

The more natural alternative for demanding consumers

HPMC (thermo-gelled); no gelling agent

HPMC; Gelling agent

HPMC; Gelling agent

Pullulan naturally fermented from tapioca

Available for liquid or powder

Available for liquid or powder

Available for liquid or powder

Available for liquid or powder

Moisture sensitive ingredients

Moisture sensitive ingredients

Acid sensitive ingredients

Oxygen sensitive ingredients

Applications: All nutraceutical products; hygroscopic or moisture sensitive, amino acids, OTC, sports and energy products

Applications: Herbs, hygroscopic or moisture sensitive ingredients, minerals

Applications: Probiotics, enzymes and strong smelling ingredients (e.g. garlic, valerian root)

Application: Vitamin C, oxygen sensitive ingredients, smelly ingredients and organic ingredients in the USA

Immediate release

Meets USP for disintegration

Acid resistant*

Immediate release

Used with organic ingredients in EU

Used with organic ingredients in US


       GMO Free, Preservative Free, Allergen Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Starch Free

* TRF: No disintegration in the first :30 minutes in vitro test; mean opening 52 minutes in vivo test ** Applies to Vcaps®, Vcaps® Plus and Plantcaps – Natural/Natural Color. DRcaps® are self certified non-GMO, with third party verification pending.

Who is your target market?

The second step is to consider your product’s marketing needs. Who is the target group? Are you seeking to address a very demanding consumer looking for organic or premium natural products? Do you want to extend an existing product line in order to improve its convenience for the consumer (e.g. no reflux or unpleasant smelling ingredients)? Is organic labeling desired, and if so, in which regions? Do you want to target any particular religious groups? Is non-GMO Project verification essential for your line? Can choosing a unique dosage form help you achieve market differentiation?

By keeping these factors in mind, finding precisely the right pure, plant-based capsule from the wide-ranging Capsugel® product portfolio is easy. Whichever you choose, we stand ready to leverage more than 100 years of experience and know-how to provide optimal guidance, resources, and tools in developing formulations, setting the supply chain, and providing the technical support to optimize performance of filling machines. The largest installed base of capsule manufacturing capacity ensures unmatched capability to maintain an uninterrupted product supply, anywhere in the world.

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